Civilization VI Byzantium guide

Byzantium is a strong military and religious Civilization. We're going to overview the Civilization, learn its strengths and how to play it throughout the game. This guide is focused on the Gathering Storm expansion (Byzantium & Gaul pack). Byzantium Civilization VI

How to win Civilization VI as Byzantium?

To win Civilization VI as Byzantium you must focus on religion and war, the civilization synergics these aspects extremely well. Convert enemy cities to your religion and then conquer them using cavalry, which in the case of Byzantium led by Basil II (only leader as of now), ignores defenses if the city follows the same religion. Focus heavily on Holy Sites and Hippodromes (Entertainment Complex replacement). The Civilization weakness is its lack of gold generation, to solve this pillage, sell diplomatic favor and choose the Tithe (+3 Gold for each city following the religion) belief.

Byzantium Overview

Byzantium enjoys huge religious bonuses, which can be conveniently converted into culture


Civilization Ability: Taxis

+3 Combat and Religious Strength for all units for each Holy City converted to Byzantium's Religion (including Byzantium's own Holy City) Byzantium's Religion is spread to nearby cities when an unit from an enemy civilization or city-state is defeated. +1 Great Prophet point from Holy Sites.


Basil II's Leader Ability: Porphyrogénnētos

Basil II Civilization VI

"I have no intention of being an indifferent looker-on if the distant Powers have the idea of dividing up Africa, for Byzantium has been for more than fourteen centuries an island of Christians in the middle of a the sea of pagans"

Heavy and light cavalry units deal full damage when attacking cities following the same religion as Byzantium. Gain the Tagma unique unit with Divine Right.


Byzantium unique heavy cavalry unit. It replaces the Knight and is unlocked with Divine Right if Basil is the leader. The Tagma hast the same Combat strength and Movement as the Knight, but it grants a 4 strength (combat or religious) bonus to nearby land units




Upgrades to

Resources needed



Divine Right

220 Production or 440 faith civ 6 or 880 Civ6 gold

4Civ6 gold

Cuirassier (150 Civ6 gold cost) 

10 Iron

48 Civ6StrengthIcon


Additional information

  • Ignores enemy zone of control
  • Grants nearby land units +4 Civ6StrengthIconCombat Strength or +4 Religious Strength


Having the same stats as the unit they replace, the Knight, the Tagma are far superior and more versatile. They can be used in times of war to boost themselves or other military units (bonus Combat Strength does not stack), making it easy to wipe other Civilizations. They can also be used in times of peace or against ally civilizations, supporting religious units in their combats.


Byzantium unique district: Hippodrome

Byzantium's unique district, it replaces the Entertainment Complex. The Hippodrome provides 3 Amenities from entertainment (instead of 1) and most importantly, when constructed the district provides a Heavy Cavalry unit free of maintenance and then another one for each building constructed in the district.

  • Effects:
    • Lower production cost
    • +3 Amenities from entertainment to parent city
    • Amenities from the Zoo and Stadium buildings extends to cities whose City Centers are up to 6 tiles away from the district
    • Provides a free heave cavalry unit when first constructed and for each building constructed here. These units have no maintenance cost
  • Restrictions:
    • Cannot be built if Water Park has already been built in this city.

Civic requirement


Base Cost


Pillage Yield

Location requirements

Games and recreation

Entertainment Complex

27 Production

1Civ6 gold

25 Civ6 gold

Cannot be built if Water Park has already been built in this city


Byzantium unique unit: Dromon

Byzantine unique naval ranged unit. It replaces the Quadrireme. In comparison, the Dromon has +1 Range and +10 Ranged Strength against land and naval units




Upgrades to

Resources needed

Melee Strength

Ranged Strength




120 Production or 240 faith civ 6 or 480 Civ6 gold

2Civ6 gold

Frigate (130 Civ6 gold cost) 


20 Civ6StrengthIcon




Additional information

  • Cannot enter ocean tiles until Cartography has been researched
  • +10 Ranged Strength against land and naval units
  • Has a Range of 2


Because of this unit Byzantium early game is stronger in water maps. Despite being a naval unit, Dromons are used to give your religious spread a quick-start, this is because defeating enemy units makes it so Bizantium's religion is spread to nearby cities (Civ ability - Taxis). Early game settle a city on the coast and declare war on a neighbor that has units and cities on the coast too.

Start Bias

No start bias.

Types of victories

Byzantium's best type of victories are Domination and Religious.

Domination victory:

Domination is one of the most suitable paths for Byzantium. Although if you're doing things the right way, you might 'accidentally' get a religious victory while going for domination. This is due to Byzantium's civ ability, Taxis, which makes it so the civ's religion is spread to nearby cities when an enemy unit is defeated.

Byzantium led by Basil II (as of now the civ's only leader) has 2 unique units. The Dromon and the Tagma, boosting military might in the Classical and Medieval eras respectively. The only problem for Byzantium is that there are no bonuses/incentives in terms of gold generation. To make up for this, the Hippodrome grants you Heavy Calvary free of maintenance once it or a building in it is constructed.

  • Early in the game rush a Holy Site, the civilization is not so good without a religion. Also Taxis grants +1 Great Prophet points for Holy Sites
  • Rush Hippodromes (Entertainment Complex replacement) once the Medieval Era is reached. Receive free units, profit
  • Pillage a lot, you don't have a lot of ways or incentives to generate gold yourself
  • Most important districts before Medieval Era, in order are: Holy Sites, Encampments, Campuses and Harbors
  • Most important districts once you reach the Medieval Era, in order are: Entertainment Complex, Encampments, Campuses and Harbors


Science victory:

Not the best path for the Byzantine empire. Receiving no bonuses in terms of science the best way of getting this type of victory is by going full domination, and then winning by simply having an overwhelming number of cities and (captured) campuses.


Culture Victory:

Again, not a good path for Byzantium, the civilization has no bonuses or incentives in terms of Culture. However, it isn't too difficult of a victory. Achieve it through war.


Religious Victory:

Byzantium has a huge advantage when it is trying to achieve a religious victory. Bonuses and incentives towards religious combat and religious spread favor the Byzantine Empire. Taxis, the civilization ability, grants additional Religious strength, spreading to nearby cities and makes it easier to get a Great Prophet from Holy Sites. Porphyrogénnētos, Basil's leader ability, makes it so your cavalry deal full damage to cities that follow the same religion as the Byzantine empire. Domination and religion go hand in hand.

  • Rush a Holy Site
  • Don't hesitate about war. The civilization is intended as both religious and militaristic
  • In the medieval era rush Divine right and Games and recreation. By building Hippodromes and buildings in them you will get free (both production and maintenance) heavy cavalry, which will be Tagma if you have the Divine right civic.
  • Use Tagma in groups both in peace and war times, they provide +4 Strength to all land units, including religious units.


Diplomatic Victory:

Making allies isn't natural for the Byzantine Empire, other leaders get mad when you convert their cities or wage war against them. However, diplomacy is more about the player's knowledge than the civilization itself. Knowing what the AI is going to vote for requires experience in the game.

  • Build some Industrial zones in cities where you intend to build wonders.
  • The extra productivity should be used to win over the Statue of Liberty (awards 4 points toward diplomatic victory).
  • If you're going to war do it early, as grievances are forgotten as the game progresses.
  • Build some Army for deterrence.


Best Secret Society for Byzantium: The Sanguine Pact

the sanguine pact civ 6

The Byzantine Empire benefits a lot from having the Sanguine Pact as friends. Vampires will help in times of war, which should be almost all the time if you're playing this civilization.

The Voidsingers are second place, they favor religious civilizations, but particularly those that have Faith bonuses, which Byzantium has not, also in this case religious victory synergices with war anyways, making the Sanguine Pact the better choice. However, if luck is not with you and you don't get to meet the Sanguine Pact, then the Voidsingers are still a good choice.


The Sanguine Pact Governor promotions

Promotion title

Unlocked by


Initiation Destroy a barbarian camp (70% chance) Grants a Vampire unit in your capital.

Reach the Medieval Era

Grants a Vampire unit in your capital, and allows your Vampires to construct Vampire Castles (maximum two per empire).


Reach the Industrial Era

Grants a Vampires unit in your capital. Increases maximum Vampire Castle build to three. Your vampires now intimidate adjacent enemy units, reducing their combat strength by 5. Pillaging now costs Vampires 1 movement.

Master Plan

Reach the Atomic Era

Grants a Vampire unit in your capital. Increase maximum Vampire Castle builds to four. Units can teleport between Vampire Castles.


The Vampire

Vampires civ6

The Vampire benefits a lot from Tagma bonuses (+4 Combat Strength to nearby land units). However, vampires are slow and you will find a lot of times that they are late to battles. Plan ahead and build Vampire Castles later in the game.


Byzantium throughout the game

Early game

Unlike other civilizations that see benefit in ignoring religion while playing on higher difficulties, Byzantium needs to found one as soon as possible. In order to do this the Astrology's eureka is needed, discover a Natural wonder. A good build order is Scout>Slinger>Slinger or Scour>Scour>Slinger. The idea is to Scout enough so once the time to research Astrology comes, the technology is already boosted. 


Religion, pantheon and beliefs:

After the Classical era starts you should be one of the firsts to found a religion. Good beliefs to choose are:

Sorry about the mouse over. We want to choose beliefs that will help us in both war and religious efforts. There are other good choices, but I find that these work pretty well:

  • God Of War: Bonus Faith of 50% of the strength of each combat unit killed within 8 tiles of a Holy Site. Although this will be used a lot throughout the game, I'd say the belief is the most replaceable. There are other worthy choices depending on resources nearby.
  • Work Ethic: Holy Sites Faith adjacency bonus provides Production as well. Pick this if you have at least one good (3+ adjacency) Holy Site
  • Crusade: Combat units gain +10 Combat Strength when fighting within the borders of foreign cities that follow the Religion. This is not replaceable, simply too good of a fit for Byzantium
  • Tithe: +3 Gold for each city following the Religion. Not replaceable, Byzantium's weakness is that the Civilization requires a lot of unit maintenance (before Hippodromes) and not a lot of means of generating gold, because if played right you won't be constructing Commercial Hubs. Instead your district slots should be spent on Holy Sites, Encampments, Campus, Hippodromes and Harbors.


Science: Have 1 good Campus early game

Having a good Campus is important even if you're not playing a science civilization. After constructing a Holy Site and having ~3 cities you should be looking for a good place for a Campus. Mountains and Geothermal Fissures are the best. Build the Campus in the city (not necessarily the capital) that has a good spot for it and can do it in a reasonable amount of time.


Conquering the first enemy civilization and its Holy City

Once Byzantium has founded a religion it's time to play aggressively. Denounce an enemy civilization and declare war on them. Follow these steps:

1) Position your units in between your cities and theirs, let them come to you

2) Kill enough units so the enemy city converts to your religion (Taxis ability)

3) Attack the city with your Cavalry, which ignores city-defenses (Basil's ability)

4) Repeat until you reach the capital

The capital is very likely a Holy City, and therefore harder to convert. If the enemy civilization doesn't have units you will find that rebelious cities are quite helpful:

In this case, you simply let Ziz rebel and then kill the barbarian units. Until Tyre follows Kitten, or whatever is your religion.

5) Profit

6) Repeat throughout the game, in the Medieval era having access to Tagma conquering cities will be even easier. To be honest Byzantium is overpowered.


Byzantium: Abilities and units in depth

In depth: Basil II's Leader Ability: Porphyrogénnētos

Basil II Civilization VI


Heavy and light cavalry units deal full damage when attacking cities following the same religion as Byzantium. Gain the Tagma unique unit with Divine Right.

Strategy: Siege has never been so useless, as long as the enemy city follows Bizantium's religion. This is achieved by killing nearby units, thanks to the civ ability (Taxis) a city can be converted into your religion by pure force.

  • Pillage: Cavalry has high maintenance costs, and Byzantium doesn't have any bonuses in Gold production or incentives to construct Commercial Hubs (too busy with Encampments and Holy Sites)
  • Divine Right eureka is building 2 Temples, something that you should have done at this point in the game


In depth: Tagma

Tagma is a heavy cavalry that is great both at supporting and attacking. Its +4 Combat strength bonus applies to all nearby land units, including religious units. Because of this the Tagma can be used to help religious units in times of peace.

In times of war the Tagma is extremely good at conquering cities if they follow the same religion as Byzantium. It is good to bring missionaries and apostles in order to convert cities before attacking. However, it is rarely necessary because of Taxis, if you kill enough units nearby, eventually cities will get converted.

Maintenance cost is high (4Civ6 gold), keep that in mind before making them. However, maintenance cost is 0 if you get them from Hippodromes.

Note: Tagma combat bonus does not stack, having 1 or 2 Tagma is enough.

Note 2: As of release date Tagma is bugged, they disappear and reappear later in the game. No, you're not imagining it.

  • Rush: To get Tagmas sooner point your civics development towards Divine Right. To hurry it you need to have 2 Temples in your empire. Important: Get Divine Right before building Hippodromes or you might get free War-Carts or Knight, both really underwhelming when compared to Tagmas
  • Use: Boost your Tagmas with Oligarchy and Oligarchy legacy wildcard. Group Tagma with other units to get the best value out of its bonus Combat Strength, which doesn't stack and therefore 1 Tagma is enough per group
  • Upgrade: Upgrading to Cuirassiers is worth it, although they have a higher maintenance cost (5 vs 4) while also having higher Combat Strength (62 vs 48). Nevertheless keep at least 1 Tagma around to boost your other units


In depth: Taxis 

+3  Combat and  Religious Strength for all units for each Holy City converted to Byzantium's Religion (including Byzantium's own Holy City) Byzantium's Religion is spread to nearby cities when an unit from an enemy civilization or city-state is defeated. +1  Great Prophet point from Holy Sites.



Byzantium districts 

If the civilization is played as is intended, domination route, eventually Byzantium will have all districts from captured cities. Nevertheless early game Holy Sites and 1 good Campus are enough to steer the game in your favor.


Holy Sites

Holy Sites are the most important district while playing as Byzantium. Constructing the first one early enough to found a religion is necessary, and then having more throughout the game will help greatly in war and religious efforts. Especially if the God of War pantheon is chosen.



Constructing at least 1 good Campus (3+ adjacency bonus) early game is enough to not fall behind in science (higher difficulties). Afterwards, conquering cities that have Campuses in them is good enough.



Encampments are important, but you don't really need them early game. Prioritize Holy Sites, Campus (at least 1) and Hippodromes



Want free Heavy Cavalry that has no maintenance cost?

Construct a lot of Hippodromes, not only it will provide amenities for your cities in war, but also it will grant a Heavy Cavalry unit once constructed and then again for each building.



Harbors and Commercial Hubs


Harbors are necessary for coastal cities and a good way of generating gold. Commercial Hubs are not necessary while playing Byzantium, there are other ways of generating gold.


How to counter Byzantium

Don't let Byzantium convert your cities, and in the case you see them doing it, then prepare for war:

  • Don't let your units get killed: Usually in times of war some sacrifices are worth making, this is not the case because when a unit is killed by Byzantium, nearby cities will get converted, making it so their Cavalry will ignore city-defenses.
  • Science up: Byzantium doesn't have science bonuses, leaving them behind in the science tree is not difficult.
  • Don't let their cavalry get close to your cities: If you are playing a civilization that does better by ignoring religion, then Byzantium will have an easy time while attacking your cities with their cavalry. Simply don't let them get close.
  • Anti Cavalry units